Staying in Hostels throughout Vietnam is a great way to meet people, experience other cultures and get yourself oriented with the country. Hostels are anywhere from $3-$10USD per bed per night, but the average around backpacker street in Ho Chi Minh is $5. You can book ahead online, or check out the room in person and bargain for a cheaper price.
My bed cost $5USD, it was an eight bed dorm in a hostel called Saigon Backpackers Hostel located at 200 Cong Quynh, close to a very touristic part of town called Backpacker Street. Saigon Backpackers has a small chain of three hostels and each offers a slightly different variety of amenities. One offers free city tours while another offers a rooftop view. Our hostel offered a free breakfast which you could choose from a bowl of Phố with egg or a breakfast sandwich. They also had a rooftop hang out which enabled us to catch an amazing view of the sunset.
I had initially planned to stay for only three nights, but ended up extending my stay when I met Luc (@lucloewen) who wanted to go on a bike tour of Vietnam. Since we had to organize when and how to Rent or Buy a Bike in Vietnam.
I went to the front desk to change my stay for two more nights and they told me I would have to move rooms. They told me it would be $1 more, but it was in a room with only six beds. I told them that since I had to move, I wanted the bed in the smaller dorm at the same price (USD$5). They agreed. Now, normally, in North America, a dollar is not a big difference, but when you are a backpacker in South East Asia on a limited budget, a dollar here and a dollar there starts to add up.
Knowing that in North America a $1 does not make much of a difference, I was very surprised to find out that in Ho Chi Minh city, it does make quite a difference. Along with there only being six beds in the dorm, I had my own small balcony, an en suite bathroom with some nice touches such as hand soap and a small plant to liven up the room. The biggest thing I noticed was the fact that in this en suite bathroom, the shower was separate from toilet because more often than not the shower will be hanging on the wall next to the toilet. You then have your full shower next to the toilet with a fully tiled cubicle and drain. It was quite a different experience in comparison to the Canadian way of showering and bathing, so it was nice to feel back to normal with a separate shower from the toilet area.
These small touches such a balcony, hand soap in the bathroom, a separate shower from the toilet and a small plant to liven things up made a big difference to the ambiance of my stay.